Tell me What You Want to Hear, and I’ll Make a Poll For You

By Alex Gonzalez

Polls are beneficial because they do, often, produce credible predictions.  However, polls can also be deceiving because polling companies can be hired to produce a bias wish list and  wanted answers. Today Politico and ABCnews  have posted a poll conducted by Latino Decision, which was paid by Univision, about Latinos in the US.  Politico carried the headline “Poll: Romney leads with Hispanic votersunderlining how Mitt Romney is more popular than Newt Gingrich.  ABCnews also carried the poll but with a different message: Obama Leads by Wide Margins Among Latinos, but Florida in Play for GOP.  

 The poll was supposed to explain how Latinos feel about the Republican Primaries and the state of the economic, and the issues more important to Latinos.  But, I am not sure if Univison wanted this poll to reflect the Latino pulse or Univision’s own bias views, or maybe it was the company they hired by Univision, Latino Decision,  that had its own bias question and answers.  Or, perhaps  Politico and ABCnews did not even bothered to read how unempirical the poll was when measuring favorability for Hispanic Republicans.  Thus, the poll results are biased since you are asking  a group of democrats to give their views on Republicans.  True, some Hispanics might be turned off by some anti-immigrant rhetoric used by some Republican politicians, which  leads to the typical 30% that Republican constantly  received  from Latino voters. But, to claim that only 5% of Hispanic perceived Susana Martinez as very favorable–or Marco Rubio at 4% in California and 10% in Texas—is very misleading.

In the questions about favorability–not surprisingly all Hispanic Republicans elected officials have dismal favorability percentages.  In the poll, nationally, the Gov. of New Mexico, Susana Martinez has a 5% “very favorable” and only 12% see Martinez as “somewhat favorable” among Hispanics.  One will think that for a governor who managed to reform education and created jobs in the state, promote more trade with Mexico—all of which are issues important to Latinos– will be more favorable; Even the Republican Gov. of Nevada Brian Sandoval has a very low favorability among Hispanics, according the Latino decision.  For example,  Nationally, only 3% of Latinos agreed that Sandoval is “very favorable” and only 10% answered that he was somewhat favorable.  Even Marco Rubio scored only  29% in his home state of Florida, and 4% in California, and 10% in Texas  as very favorable.  Really?

Here are the main poll questions :  “what are the most important issues facing the Latino community that you think Congress and the President should address?:  Since 2008, this are the issues that have remained constantly in the minds of Latinos. So there is no variation on the issues Latinos want to talk about Nationally, in FL, CA, TX, and NY/NJ respectively.

Create more jobs / unemployment         35%                         36%             41%     28%      44%

Fix the economy (generic)                         15%                         28%             17%     7%       19%

Immigration reform / DREAM Act          46%                          43%            49%     46%     45%

For the questions of favorability between Gingrich and Romney, the numbers are almost the same.   But unlike what Politico and ABCnews report, If this poll was to be taken seriously, when we look closely, the only difference between Romney and Gingrich nationally, and in Florida, is minimal within the plus-minus margin of error.

                                                                 National          Florida      CA       TX      NY/NJ

Very favorable              (Gingrich)         7%                    11%          5%      7%         4%

(Romney)                                                 8%                   13%          8%      8%        12%

Somewhat favorable  (Gingrich)         17%                   22%           17%    19%       16%

(Romney)                                                20%                   27%         26%     18%     13%

“20. And if the Republican primary election were being held today, would you vote for Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney or somebody else  Nationally, in FL, CA, TX, and NY/NJ respectively.

Mitt Romney                                              25%            35%             20%     11%       44%

Newt Gingrich                                            16%            20%             9%      23%        10%

“If the 2012 election for President was held today and the candidates were Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama, who would you most likely vote for?” This is the only finding where Romney favors better than Gingrich by 9 points nationally  and by 15 points in Florida, but keep in minds this are democrats respondents.  The questions below is on how Gingrich  and Romney will  square against Obama,  but Republican almost the same against Obama nationally and in Florida.

                                                                  National          Florida       CA        TX         NY/NJ

Romney                                                        25%                40%         23%     18%      17%

Obama                                                           67%               50%         72%      66%     78%

In an Obama-Gingrich match

Gingrich                                                        22%               38%         18%       21%    11%

Obama                                                           70%                52%        74%       66%      81%

25.  There are many possible causes for our economic troubles these last years. Thinking about the last two administrations, which would you say is MOST responsible for the economy these last few years? Would you say the economic policies of George Bush or Barack Obama are more responsible Nationally, in FL, CA, TX, and NY/NJ respectively.

Bush is to blame                                            66%            51%         66%      68%     61%

Obama is to blame                                        18%            25%         18%       14%    15%

 Not surprisingly, when Latino Decision asked the question “ which party do you trust more to make the right decisions and improve our economic conditions?  Nationally,  61% of respondents said Democrat and Obama.  In FL, 45% answered that the Democrats and Obama and only 38% of Hispanics believe Republicans will do a better job with the economy.  In California, according  to the poll,  64% answered that the Democrats and Obama will do better job, but only 21% of respondents said that Republicans will do better job with the economy.  And the idea the 68% of Latinos in Texas would blame Bush for the economic and only 14% would blame Obama is unrealistic.

 Moreover,  while Latino Decision results show 60% of Latinos blaming Bush for the economy woes, and 64% saying Obama and the Democrats will be a better jobs fixing the economy, the Pew Center shows different results. According the Pew Center, “Nearly four-in-ten (38%) say the Democratic Party can do a better job of handling the issue they point to as the top national problem; 32% say the Republicans can better handle this problem. One-in-five (20%) say neither party can better handle the issue”.  Similarly,  the pew Hispanics numbers who that Obama current rating—46%—is still somewhat lower among the general public than among Latinos, but this gap has narrowed significantly in the past year. And, even lower  percentages  Among Latinos who disapprove of the Obama administration’s deportation policy, just 36% approve of the president’s overall job performance while 54% disapprove.

 In this Latino decision Poll, the most confusing are the result from the Texas respondents— a very Republican state where the economy has remained strong under Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican legislature.  According to the poll, 59% answered that the Democrats and Obama  will “improve our economic conditions” while only 21% said that Republican will do better jobs with the economy.  Can we really  assume than only 21% of Hispanics in Texas think Republican can do better job with the economy, while 685 still blame W. Bush?

 27.  Alright, which comes closest to your view about what government policy should be toward undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States? Should the government…Nationally, in FL, CA, TX, and NY/NJ respectively.

All undocumented immigrants felons      11%            14%            9%     12%      10%

Guest worker program                                14%            16%            12%   17%      11%

Earned citizenship                                         71%            64%           77%    63%      67%

29.  Recently, a candidate running for President has said – quote: “The DREAM Act is a handout that rewards criminal activity by illegals with special benefits.  If the Congress passes the DREAM Act,  I will veto it.” end quote.  Would that statement make you more likely to support the candidate, less likely to support the candidate, or would you not care what they said about immigration policy…Nationally, in FL, CA, TX, and NY/NJ respectively.

More likely to support          22%                29%         20%     19%         9%

Less likely to support             54%               37%           65%    42%        65%

Don’t care what they say     10%               16%            7%      13%        9%

This results show little support for Romney exist among Latinos since he has made the comments that he “will veto the dream act since it rewards illegality.  Moreover, when the question if phrased differently  to support the Dream Act, a candidate with support for the Dream Act become more likable among Latinos in Florida and national jumping to about 70% favorability.

“30.   Recently, a candidate running for President has said – quote “We should not penalize immigrant children who came to this country illegally. The DREAM Act is important to give immigrant youth an opportunity go to college and earn citizenship in America and I will pass it.” end quote. Would that statement make you more likely to support the candidate, less likely to support the candidate, or would you not care what they said about immigration policy?”

                                               National                   Florida          CA         TX           NY/NJ

More likely to support            68%                          70%           67%       67%         72%

Less likely to support                8%                           6%             12%       8%            0%

Don’t care what they say         13%                         13%           13%       13%          5%

The poll is clearly made to look as though Hispanic overwhelmingly blame Republican for the economic woes, how Republican Hispanic officials are favored poorly among Hispanics, and how Hispanics favor Democrats to fix the economic over Republicans.   Fortunately for Gingrich,  this self-fulfilling poll also underscores  those Republican candidates that favor an immigration reform and the Dream Act get between 70% and 75% favorability and those like Romney and Santorum calling the Dream Act bad get only 25%.  Therefore, if anything will work for Gingrich with Hispanic is his support for the Dream Act and his support for legalization for those who have been in the country for about 25 years.


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